La Playa Pilates' team of certified Pilates instructors help students of all abilities hone strong cores and toned physiques. La Playa’s mat classes, conducted with strength-enhancing props, are currently available four days a week in its airy, spa-like studio. These mixed-level classes encompass the basics of Pilates, lay the foundation for lifelong strength, prepare students for more advanced apparatus and resistance work, and build abdominals tough enough to protect naturally delicate nougat centers.
On its website, Key 2 Fitness asks, “Tired of the overcrowded atmosphere and corporate ‘machine’ of the big box gyms?” With an uncommon approach to the typical gym experience, Key 2 Fitness offers an alternative. Every member receives a key card that grants them access to the facility 24 hours a day, seven day a week. Once inside, visitors can grab a complimentary towel and migrate through the rows of cardio equipment, free weights, and strength-training machines. During certain hours, experienced personal trainers are available for one-on-one workout sessions. On the gym’s loftlike upper level is a small classroom with wooden floors, where members can take advantage of TRX suspension-training gear and 1% less gravity.
Highlights of Rodrigo Clark's two-decade Brazilian jiu-jitsu career include training with Master Carlos Gracie, Jr., reaching 2nd-degree black belt status, and medaling at the World Nogi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship seven times. At Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu Academy Santa Barbara, Clark shares his vast knowledge of the Gracie style of self-defense during programs for all ages and skill levels. His and his team's teachings don't just show students how to defend themselves, though. They can also boost self-esteem, burn calories, reduce stress, and improve one's ability to dice vegetables with their bare hand.
For more than three decades, locally owned Spectrum Athletic Clubs have aimed to create a resort-like experience for patrons with upscale perks and personalized care. After workouts, gym-goers can avail themselves of unlimited towel service and change in comfortable locker rooms. Other amenities include saunas, steam rooms, healthy cafes, specialized workout areas, and complimentary Internet access.
In addition, racquetball courts let athletes improve their game independently, and patrons can sweat solo on cardiovascular equipment with individual viewing screens. Group classes, more than 1,200 of which are held daily, include Zumba, Pilates, Body Combat, and CXWorx sessions and enable trainees to draw motivation from each other or from each exercise studio's complimentary tank of moxie. The Spectrum Kids Club gives kids a place to play while adults work out and hosts such events as pool parties and pizza parties throughout the year.
In business for 20 years, Santa Barbara Yoga Center boasts diverse instructors who shepherd students through more than 100 weekly classes in styles stretching from Anusara to Iyengar to Ashtanga. Each instructor channels a passion for tranquility through beginner- and advanced-level sessions, fitness-oriented classes, and specialized instruction for soon-to-be mothers, athletes, seniors, and those suffering from injuries. After the deep breathing and mantras of meditative Kundalini sessions, students emerge centered and better calibrated to weigh the souls of others. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Peak Performance yoga classes mold and fortify the physique through a mix of Vinyasa and strength training. As a bonus, Groupon holders will receive a 10 percent discount if they purchase an additional class series within one week after their month of classes.
Once a costumer for productions including Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Tami Macala switched careers midstream when she discovered the art of creating mosaics, according to a Noozhawk profile. She started mosaicking everything from fireplaces to fountains to other, lesser mosaics, eventually landing high-profile projects at the Florida Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Arby’s restaurants.
After more than a decade of working as a professional mosaic artist, Tami opened the Santa Barbara School of Mosaic Art (SBSMA). At the school, Tami and guest artists from near and far teach how to trick out tables with colorful shingles, coax gently luminous Mexican smalti into intricate patterns, or fuse glass for even more complex designs. Students can pick up tools and tiles at the SBSMA supply store and drop by during lab hours to work on independent projects.
Yasa Yoga’s name comes from the Sanskrit words for “good-hearted,” a reflection of the studio’s noncompetitive, welcoming community of yogis and instructors. They gather to practice in a red-tiled, Mission-style building originally constructed in 1912. Husband-and-wife duo Ryan and Stephanie Besler lead a majority of the classes, accommodating students of all skill levels with a variety of yoga styles. During Yasa Basics classes, students absorb foundational yoga poses and breathing techniques in a naturally lit practice space with 20-foot arched ceilings. Yasa Flow yoga instructors crank up the room temperature to bolster flexibility and teach challenging, inverted moves during workouts suited to intermediate stretchers. Students also gather inside the building—Charlie Chaplin’s former home and production studio—for a variety of other classes such as prenatal, deep-stretch, and flow-style sessions.
Though each course strengthens core muscles and focuses the brain, students also calm their minds with meditation or revel in the camaraderie of like-minded classmates as they learn to control their breathing or tendency to constantly blurt out their credit-card numbers.